‘Recursion’ refers to cards or strategies that return cards from the graveyard to a player’s hand, or allow players to re-use cards from their graveyards. This is distinct from Reanimator strategies that usually put cards (specifically creatures) back onto the battlefield directly, usually for little or no mana.
Types of Recursion
- Creature recursion is distinct from creature reanimation, in which a creature is brought from the graveyard directly onto the battlefield for a low mana investment. Cards that allow a player to return a creature to their hand, or to cast that creature from the graveyard by paying its full mana cost, may be counted as recursive creature effects. These effects are most common in black.
- Spellslinger decks make consistent use of cards that return instant and sorcery cards to their hands from the graveyard, as well as cards that allow them to cast those spells from the graveyard. These effects are most commonly found in blue and red.
- Artifact recursion may either return artifacts to a player’s hand or to the battlefield, though they often require other artifacts to enter the graveyard in exchange. These effects are most common in the color red, or on other artifact cards.
- Enchantress decks may utilize effects that return enchantments from the graveyard to the hand or to the battlefield. These effects are most common in the color white.
- Land recursion effects are most common in Landfall decks for their ability to allow their controller to play land cards from the graveyard instead of their hand. This also includes cards that return lands to the graveyard en masse. These effects are most common in green.
- Some effects may allow their controllers to return cards of any type to their hand, or to cast spells of any type from their graveyard.